Amazingly, another month has wrapped up as we surge passed the midway point of the 2010-11 season. February has arrived and, while the signs are winter are still prevelant in Oil Country, spring is just around the corner with the turn of the calendar.
Cryptics aside, what this really means is that the season is winding down. 33 games are still to be played, but the catch-up game can become a difficult task amongst the intense competition and pressure of a dwindling schedule.
Of course, in the spirit of competition and helping to create greater disprepancy in your respective game-night rosters, a subtle change will be introduced this week: No discounts will be available, and raises will come at a higher cost. Are you ready for the challenge? Good. Game LeaderboardSeason LeadersPlayer StatsNot a member? Sign up!WEDNESDAY NIGHT
As is always the case with the Fantasy Forecast, imparting vital information at the last minute is never our philosophy. As such, you have some extra time to prepare for the impending changes.
No more than one hour following the completion of tomorrow's game vs. Los Angeles, the salaries of this week’s highlighted players will be amended, while last week’s players (Penner, Cogliano and Horcoff) will be reverted back to their standard cap-hits. Here are this week’s salary amendments:JORDAN EBERLE ($1M > $3M)
Welcome back, Jordan. After missing 13 games and being sidelined for nearly the entire month of January, rookie superstar Jordan Eberle
is set to return to the lineup shortly. What better way to celebrate the occasion than with a not-so-subtle salary increase?
With others on the rise, including roommate and fellow rookie Taylor Hall
, Eberle has still managed to keep his position in the top ten with a total of 367 Fantasy points. It's a testament to the remarkable total that Eberle was able to achieve prior to his New Year's Day ailment.
Although Eberle's even strength numbers have been good, his prowess with the man-advantage could provide endless benefits for his Fantasy owners and a team that's in desperate need of some power-play success.
His value to the Oilers is undeniable. With a significant raise backing the claim of a successful rookie campaign, your decision for his inclusion becomes more of a challenge. SAM GAGNER ($2M > $3M)
The return of the captain has helped Sam Gagner
settle into a more familiar role as we enter a new month of action. Although he accumulated charging offensive numbers during Horcoff's absence, Gagner fell victim in a few key areas. His faceoff numbers were consistently improving, but still resulted in below average percentages most of the time; as such, an otherwise solid evening was tainted with a disappointing outing in the dot.
But now Horcoff is back in the fold. Gagner has returned to the second-line role that accompanies lesser dependance on faceoff success. While you can be sure that the 21-year old centre is working diligently at improving his craft, the growing pains should become less noticeable.
In addition, new linemates that include the likes of returnee Jordan Eberle
are sure to present a new element of offensive creativity in the Oilers' top six. In this situation, Gagner should thrive and will be counted on to continue his solid production up front. RYAN JONES ($1M > $3M)
Energy forward Ryan Jones
has quickly developed into something special here in Oil Country. With an aggressive style that features a tremendous physical edge, his workmanlike approach to the game has helped him establish a fan-favourite status with Oilers fans everywhere.
Intangibles aside, Jones now sits seventh on the team with an accumulation of 439 Fantasy points at this juncture in the season. The offensive touch has been a nice addition, with the "flow"-riding winger having produced 11 goals, but his even-strength success has translated to a climb in other areas as well.
Hits, blocked shots, penalty minutes and more have all proven valuable for Jones, as he discovers a new brand of his all-encompassing game.
What's not to like?WE HAVE A WINNER
Two, actually. Bragging rights are nice, and the shout-out in the Fantasy Hockey Forecast is pretty spectacular, but there’s more to our game than the online glory. In addition to our year-end prizes, we recognize the efforts of our monthly leaders in the following categories: Total points and top average points for the month of January; a month in which we'll be awarding prizes to a pair of first-time winners of the 2010-11 season. January - Total Points:
With a total of 1441 points, puckster99
emerges victorious by a slim two-point margin to capture this month's prize. It was a close battle throughout the month, but a strong 101-point outing vs. Dallas was enough to push him into the lone spot at the top. January– Top Average Points:
By the slimmest or margins, Stonedagain
sealed victory with a 0.15-point edge over puckster99. His performance was highlighted by a 236-point outing against the Sharks that ultimately sealed the procurement of top spot in this category.
On behalf of the entire edmontonoilers.com staff, I would like to say congratulations to each of our winners! Both puckster99 and Stonedagain will receive a signed 8x10 of one of their favourite Oilers players.
We will be in contact with both of you shortly to arrange the delivery of your prizes.
Remember, monthly prizes will be handed out throughout the regular season, in addition to the year-end prizes at the conclusion of the campaign. With a greater discrepancy in point averages, combined with the ongoing sequence of salary amendments, there's plenty of time for everyone to make their move and challenge for the top spot in one of our winning categories.
Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com